Guess and Check


Joan Acocella on New Yorkers

Filed under: General — 7:21 pm

Joan Acocella gives her opinions on how New Yorkers are both seemingly rude but also helpful in public.

My mother, who lives in California, doesn’t like to be kept waiting, so when she goes into the bank, she says to the people in the line, “Oh, I have just one little thing to ask the teller. Do you mind?” Then she scoots to the front of the line, takes the next teller and transacts her business, which is typically no briefer than anyone else’s. People let her do this because she is an old lady. In New York, she wouldn’t get away with it for a second.

But also:

In the subway or on the sidewalk, when someone asks a passerby for directions, other people, overhearing, may hover nearby, disappointed that they were not the ones asked, and waiting to see if maybe they can get a word in.

Her main point on this is that we (New Yorkers) live so much of their lives in public (eating outside in parks, using the subway, etc.) that we act in public like we do in private. Very interesting.

Via Kottke.